Categorized | Advice

How to Write Annual Performance Review

Posted on 03 January 2011

It’s that time of year again: annual reviews. But for some reason, your boss seems unable to make the time for yours. It wouldn’t be so bad if she were just a few weeks late, but last year it took months before you were able to pin her down for the performance review. You swore you’d never let it happen again.

Money has become pretty tight in your organization, but you promised yourself that this year would be different–and you now have two weeks to make sure that it is.

You Are Not Alone
If it’s any consolation, you are not alone. People all over the country go through this scenario every day. Bill Peters, senior inventory analyst for a Houston-based pumping service company, received his raise but not his review because his supervisor says she does not have the time to do reviews in the fashion mandated by the company.


It’s easy to get complacent, particularly if your raise has not been held up by a late review.

This might be fine for some people, but Peters would actually like some feedback regarding his performance. He would also like an opportunity to negotiate for the type of raise he feels he has earned, rather than settle for the amount written on a slip of paper without any discussion.

The annual review problem occurs at all work levels. Marc Cohen, director of computing operations and support for a Massachusetts university, has been waiting three years for his review. Like Peters, he has received raises along the way, but has not received a formal evaluation.

Several years ago, the university decided to develop a new performance measurement tool. That’s when Cohen’s boss decided to stop doing reviews–ostensibly until the new tool was completed, though it also was an opportunity for the boss to discontinue a task that he was never comfortable with in the first place. Thus, Cohen and his team have not received formal feedback in three years.

Be Direct on Your Annual Performance Review

It’s easy to get complacent, particularly if your raise has not been held up by a late review. But it’s still frustrating not to get feedback, at least on an annual basis.

Lisa Abeloff, director of staffing for Yankee Candle of Deerfield, MA, believes that you need to be proactive. When asked how she would advise employees on how to respond to late reviews, Abeloff says, “Send an e-mail requesting a meeting. In the e-mail let your boss know that you are looking for feedback so that you can be more successful in your job and therefore contribute to the company.”

If the boss still doesn’t respond, Abeloff says, you can ask to see him through his assistant. “Don’t give up, yet act professional, keep the emotion out of it and make sure your boss understands that you want feedback so that you can be the best employee you can be,” she says.

What Not To Do
Helene Buchler, principal of Wellesley, MA-based Helene Buchler Human Resources Consulting Services, agrees with Abeloff on the need to be proactive. She also offers the following advice:

  • Don’t stew in it and not address your frustrations with your manager.
  • Don’t discuss your frustrations with everyone around you except your manager.
  • Don’t go above your manager without first addressing your concerns or frustrations with him or her.

Abeloff would add one more thing:

  • Don’t let it go so long that the feedback is outdated.

Stay on Course
Don’t let the money, or lack of money, throw you off course. Increases can come in all shapes and sizes. If funds in your company are tight, you can negotiate for non-monetary rewards such as flexible work hours.

Buchler believes that you have to look at your long-term goals. She says, “If a company is tight for money, an employee may be performing well, but may not receive an increase. This is palatable if during better financial times an employee sees that he/she will reap the benefits. Employees should continually assess the reasons for joining a company.” Buchler’s approach will help employees decide if this is an issue worth addressing or if it’s time to move on.

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- who has written 49 posts on Higher Education and Career Blog.


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